Texas Children’s saved my sight

March 13, 2017

Body

2k12-0300-AK3_2409 10 yr old Gesselle Padilla

I was born two months premature in 1959. When I was born, I was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). ROP is a disease that can occur in premature babies, but has a lasting impact on their quality of life. ROP causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, the layer of nerve tissue in the eye that enables us to see. This growth can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, leading to blindness.

Around age 2, I was constantly rubbing my eyes and that’s when my parents decided to take me to Texas Children’s Hospital. Although I lost sight in one eye, Texas Children’s saved my sight in my other eye and I am so grateful. I eventually had my right eye removed and replaced with a prosthesis. As a young boy, I adjusted to depending on one eye to view the world. My mother always joked that I spent every summer bumping into things on my right side – I was a regular boy, roughhousing and having fun!

Life is an incredible journey. I feel lucky to have had a great career as a mechanical equipment supervisor. I love my job and it has given me the opportunity to travel the world and the United States, doing maintenance on power plant machinery. Because of my impaired eye sight, I am very concerned about safety and take every precaution to protect my vision at work and home. When you have sight in only one eye, you can’t take it for granted.

My journey has led me back to Texas Children’s and I support ophthalmology research at the hospital because I’d like to find a cure for ROP. Texas Children’s helped me and I feel like if I can help someone else, everyone will benefit. It’s important to me to support the research being done at Texas Children’s to help the future generations of children. I hope that they, too, can have a fulfilling life and journey in their future.

To learn more about ophthalmology at Texas Children’s click here.

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